The influence of social media on parenting is claimed to be enormous. This is not surprising at all since social media has been changing our lives in many aspects – from private to professional, since websites such as Facebook and Twitter became tangled with everything we do. So, what has changed for modern parents in comparison to the generation that did not have a chance to discuss parenting issues online? Read on.
Your mother did not have the chance to talk about breastfeeding with a group of random moms gathered online, in a completely safe environment, with the possibility to remain anonymous if she wanted to. In fact, chances are she had no one to talk about it, since breastfeeding is a topic that has been a taboo for decades. Today, it is through social media that people are able to find people going through the same experiences they are and talk about them. You could have absolutely nothing else in common with another person except that you both have a child or are pregnant and suddenly you are so very much the same. There are still questions people are embarrassed to ask their own doctors or counselors – but luckily, there are groups and groups of random people you can ask online. Simply having this possibility, for many parents seems to be a huge relief. It is a way towards more confident parenting – and knowing you’re not alone in certain issues is a relief itself – and, as we all know, not only when it comes to parenting.
The downside of social media (and not only in terms of parenting) is that it can also portray inaccurate information – not only through information regarding advice on specific things (which is all to be taken with a pinch of salt, just like everything we read online), but also all kind of visual content that you might get annoyed about.
Seeing photos of seemingly amazing examples of parenting on Facebook and Pinterest can make you feel like a less of a successful parent (and/or partner, worker, etc), for not having a perfectly clean house, for not having the extra money for that amazing family vacation that everyone else is going. Watching happy couple photos with their newborn can be somewhat depressing if you are a single parent, if single parenting was not completely the way you would choose to do it.
Social media has the potential to draw out jealousy in all of us. A good idea is to try not to let the social media overwhelm you. Every child, family and situation is different, and you should not try to compare your parenting to anyone else’s. That could make you a happier parent – and happy parents have happy children. And that’s what we sort of all want – to raise functional members of society.
No doubt that social media is a very useful tool – the knowledge and support that can be acquired through social media can help you become a more confident, and overall – better – parent. But, just like with other aspects of life we are presented through social media, the perfect parenting styles we get to see are not to be taken too seriously. Also, try not to allow yourself too much social media time.
There are many moments when you need to be present for your children in non-virtual reality. Genuine presence is definitely more important than applying any advice you can possibly read online.